Stampede Caused Bulk Of Palestinian Casualties During Aid Delivery, IDF Says After Initial Incident Review

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John Oyewale Contributor
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A stampede during humanitarian aid delivery Thursday in northern Gaza was responsible for the bulk of Palestinian casualties, Israeli authorities said Saturday.

“The [Israel Defense Forces] has concluded an initial review of the unfortunate incident where Gazan civilians were trampled to death and injured as they charged to the aid convoy,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari stated. “Our initial review has confirmed that no strike was carried out by the IDF toward the aid convoy. The majority of Palestinians were killed or injured as a result of the stampede.”

The IDF fired warning shots to disperse the stampede and, as the forces retreated, “several looters approached our forces and posed an immediate threat to them,” according to Hagari. “According to the initial review, the soldiers responded toward several individuals.”

The Fact Finding and Assessment (FFA) Mechanism, “an independent, professional and expert body,” will further examine the incident to “help us reduce the risk of such a tragic incident from occurring again during one of our humanitarian operations,” Hagari added. The IDF would share updates once available, he said. (RELATED: ‘Dozens Killed And Injured’ In Gaza During Aid Delivery)

The FFA investigates allegations of misconduct leveled at the IDF and provides its results to the Military Advocate General, who then decides whether or not to open a criminal case based on the results and recommends changes to reduce the risk of recurrence of a similar incident, according to the IDF’s Editorial Team. “This system is overseen by Israel’s civilian justice system, including the civilian courts,” it added.

Thursday was the fourth consecutive day the IDF facilitated humanitarian aid delivery to Gazan civilians “because we want humanitarian aid to reach Gazan civilians in need,” Hagari told reporters.

Israel and the international community were collaborating to get aid to Gazan civilians, including the joint U.S.-Jordanian delivery of aid by air, Hagari said. The IDF reportedly coordinated 21 such air deliveries together with France, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and the U.S.

“Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza,” he said.